float·​ing-point ˈflō-tiŋ-ˌpȯint How to pronounce floating-point (audio)
variants or floating point
: using or involving a notation in which a number is represented as a number with an absolute value between 1 and the base (see base entry 1 sense 4e(2)) multiplied by a power of the number base indicated by an exponent (as in 4.52E2 for 452 in base 10)
A floating point operation requires at least several thousand elementary binary operations.Geoffrey Murray
If a simple operation like multiplying floating-point numbers would require a set of instructions, then a procedure of any useful scale would involve putting many such sets of instructions together.Andrew Hodges
compare fixed-point, scientific notation

Examples of floating-point in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Intel says that all that combines to produce double the AI compute of Gaudi 2 using 8-bit floating-point infrastructure that has emerged as key to training transformer models. IEEE Spectrum, 9 Apr. 2024 Here, the problem is linear only when the measurements are not quantized with full precision of floating-point numbers. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 23 Jan. 2024 There are several accessories meant to extend the Book 8088's capabilities; there's an open socket for an Intel 8087 floating-point coprocessor, a Sound Blaster-compatible sound card accessory from Yamaha, and an external dongle with three slots for ISA expansion cards. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 19 May 2023 The big change from the last set of training benchmarks was that the company had enabled Gaudi 2’s 8-bit floating-point (FP8) capabilities. IEEE Spectrum, 12 Nov. 2023 One of the main problems is that floating-point accuracy is pretty consistent no matter how big or small the number. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Sep. 2023 One popular approach is known as quantization, which reduces data requirements by representing weights using fewer bits, for instance using 8-bit floating-point numbers rather than 32-bit. IEEE Spectrum, 31 Mar. 2023 In practice, this usually means using different types of floating-point formats for the different parts of a training task. IEEE Spectrum, 14 Mar. 2023 There’s an awful lot of bit patterns in floating-point arithmetic no one ever uses. IEEE Spectrum, 25 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'floating-point.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of floating-point was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near floating-point

Cite this Entry

“Floating-point.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floating-point. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: involving or being a system of representing numbers (as in computer programming) in which a quantity is written as a number multiplied by a power of that number's base
999.9 can be expressed in a floating-point system as 9.999 × 102
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